eNitiate experienced healthy Website pageview growth in 2020 (see Figure 1).
We spent time to comprehensively analyse the 4 key actions that drove the encountered growth; and share findings, key insights and the resulting Website’s goals for 2021, in this eNsight.
Equally importantly, we believe that other businesses that are as serious about growing their digital footprint as we are can learn from our Website analytics.
Now that you are here, we invite you to take a ride with us, as we go through the data-rich content.
Table of Contents
Why do we publish eNitiate Website performance reports?
Traditionally, companies do not publish internal reports.
But we do, as part of our commitment to play a bigger role in Africa’s sharing digital economy, under the banner of eNiversity – our knowledge-sharing vehicle.
Yes, it takes a lot of time and effort to develop all our data-rich eNsights that have to pass our high quality content standards; but this is because this activity is one of the key tenets of our brand promise.
Flowing from the above, we ask ourselves the question – found in the title of this section – all the time, as we do in the case of the many digital industry trends we write about on our platform, so as to continually evaluate the value that this activity adds to the growth of our own digital footprint, and the meaningful contribution it makes to Africa’s digital industry knowledge base.
eNitiate Website performance: a 6-year overview
We have been collecting data for the the eNitiate Website since 2009.
We intensified our data collection efforts from 2014, when we published our first revamped Website.
Here is the site’s Pageview trend in the last 6 years to 2020.
While the eNitiate Website pageview growth trend has been all over the show in the first 4 years in Figure 1, performance in in 2019 and 2020 has been pleasing.
This eNsight will provide detail of the main actions we undertook to drive the growth in 2020.
We briefly review the eNisights we published throughout 2020 in the tracking of the overall performance of our Website, in the next section.
A brief note on eNitiate Web performance-related eNsights we published throughout 2020
We published 42 eNsights in 2020, and more than 10 (or 1 in 4) were on the performance of the eNitiate Website alone – a clear sign of our focus for the year.
Here is a selection of the related eNsights:
- 11 optimisation lessons from 11 months of eNitiate Website focus
- Latest eNitiate Website traffic report: ROI matters
- REVIEW of 12-day SEO challenge – improving eNitiate Website page speeds
- 5 tips for turning a blog into a content marketing campaign that can last for months
- 7 key insights about eNitiate Web stats you can learn from
The eNsight that set the tone for improving eNitiate Website performance was published at the end of 2019, titled 7 key insights about eNitiate Web stats you can learn from.
We are happy with the overall results, as captured in Figure 1.
How did we achieve growth Website pageview growth in 2020?
We implemented new things, improved things that were already working, and dropped things that were not adding value.
More specifically, here below are the 4 actions that were the main drivers of the Website pageview growth.
1. Ramping up of Web analytics knowledge
We spent many hours ramping up our practical knowledge of Web analytics in 2020.
Application of the gained knowledge played a key role in the overall improvement of the eNitiate Website.
One of the key learnings, and which has become part of our Web management toolkit, is usage of multiple Web analytics tools.
On the face of it, Jetpack, MonsterInsights, Google Search Console and Google Analytics – all the tools that track a Website’s performance – should not all be used together.
Let us demonstrate how we use the tools in a complementary fashion.
- Jetpack. We track mainly Website visitors and Pageviews (see Figure 1), but also other input metrics such as number of published eNsights, average word count (see Figure 5), and performance by the different authors.
An added bonus is that we are able to analyse performance going back to 2009, the year we started using this plugin on our Website.
- MonsterInsights. This tool draws data directly from Google Analytics.
So why do we use it as well?
Because, it introduced a feature called Headline Analyzer in August 2020, which encourages testing of eNisght headlines for enhanced SEO, using a scoring algorythm.
Here is an example of how we used this feature for selecting a headline with the highest SEO score for this very eNsight:
- Google Search Console. Arguably the least used, and yet uniquely powerful Web analytics tool in its own right.
Here below are two graphs that measure eNitiate Website’s Google average ranking and click-through-rate (CTR) trend for all the countries combined (Figure 3), compared to South Africa (Figure 4), in 2020.
The two trend lines in both graphs above clearly show that there is a positive relationship between Google rankings (Position) and CTR, and you can read more about this topic on Backlinko.
Our average, overall eNitiate Website ranking on Google was at 30.1 position in 2020 (Figure 3).
Our best 2020 Google ranking comes from South Africa (Figure 4) – the country for which we have been developing the highest quality of eNsights.
- Google Analytics. The Godfather of Web analytics – is unmatched when it comes to this subject. Understandably so.
Many of our eNsights on this subject, including this very one, use data from this tool extensively.
Indeed, the Web analytics subject is vast and complex.
Thus, using only one tool can never be enough.
2. Changing of content development approach
In the last two years we changed our content development approach to publishing a lesser quantity of eNsights per year, but which are more content-rich and have a higher word count.
This is called the long-form content development approach.
Figure 5 below provides visual evidence of the change in approach.
- The quantity of eNsights (posts) we published in 2020 (totaling 42) is a third of the quantity in 2015 (totaling 122) (see the BLUE line).
- At the same time, the average word count per eNsight in 2020 (totaling 1 827) was more than quadruple that of 2015’s average (totaling 396) (see the RED line).
Why a change to the long-form approach?
We took the word count advice from Yoast SEO to heart.
Has the long-form content development approach worked?
Yes, as evidenced by the growth of organic search contribution to the eNitiate Website traffic – see Figure 6 below.
In other words, Google rewarded our long-form content with increased organic traffic.
Any online content developer will tell you that a vote of confidence from Google, signified by increase in traffic from the world’s largest search engine, is priceless.
This is an indication that this engine believes a Website offers visitors quality content.
Notice the declines in contributions to traffic by all the other channels from 2019 to 2020 in Figure 3?
Clearly then, the growth in Pageviews (Figure 1) was driven by the organic search channel.
However, we are not jumping for joy yet, because we want all the traffic channels to perform at peak. See Figure 15 in this regard.
3. Updating of ever-green content
With over 540 posts that we have published for the past 12 years, and numerous Website technology upgrades over the years, there has been a need to update content of 100 or so ever-green eNsights so as to maintain their freshness and relevance.
This exercise has been even more intense after the publishing of the our latest revamped Website in January of 2020.
Findings of the analysis of 2020’s Top 20 eNsights by Pageviews support the rationale for updating ever-green content.
- Almost half of eNitiate Website’s Pageviews in 2020 came from the top 20 eNsights (or 4% of published total).
- 12 of the top 20 eNsights were published prior to 2020, and go all the way back to 2015 (Figure 8).
- The top 3 eNsights were all published in 2019, and top 4 eNsight in 2017 (Figure 7).
We closely monitor the top performing eNsights on an ongoing basis, and update all the old ones as they pop up in the top 20 list.
4. Customising of content by device
The increase of mobile’s contribution to eNitiate Website’s traffic has called for customisation of content that is consumed on this small screen device.
Reading Figure 9 together with Figure 1, it is clear that the mobile device led the growth in Pageviews in 2020.
The need for customisation of our content that is consumed on mobile devices, which process started in 2020 but still has some way to go, is backed by the following findings:
- On the one hand, the mobile device has higher Google ranking and better CTR.
- On the other hand, visitors using the mobile device read less (Pages/Session), do not stay on our site as long (Avg. Sessions Duration), and their goal conversion rate – as measured by by a combination of any of the 6 visitor actions we track, is lesser.
Reading the findings from Figures 9 to 11 together, focus on customising the content for mobile devices cannot be overemphasised.
eNitiate Website performance opportunities
Yes, we have cause to celebrate eNitiate Website’s Pageview growth in 2020, compared to the previous year (see Figure 1).
However, we are not there yet.
Below are two specific areas that underperformed in 2020.
A. Goal Conversions
Attracting traffic to a Website is one side of the coin.
Assuming we attracted the desirable profile of visitor, getting them to take specific action on the Website is the other side of the coin.
We track six conversion goals on the site, and the breakdown can be found here.
Figure 12 below captures how the eNitiate Website performed, as measured by the completion of the tracked conversions goals, over the two years under review.
The results can be found in Figure 12 below.
2020 was not a good year for the overall conversion on the eNitiate Website, as measured by Goal Completions growth (BLUE bars) in Figure 12.
One of the possible reasons for the decline in conversions is that the increased traffic does not come from the ideal visitors.
An indicative metric for a dipstick test is a visitor demographic analysis.
See what we found, as per Figures 13 and 14 below.
Can you make sense of what the data in Figures 13 and 14 tell you?
Let’s go through the findings together:
- As shown in Figure 13, there was growth across all age groups that visited the eNitiate Website in 2020, clearly led by the 18-24 group.
- However, Figure 14 shows that there was a decline in goal conversion rates across all but the 65+ age group (and the latter contributes only 4% to total traffic).
- With eNitiate being a B2B brand that targets typically higher net-worth businesses, are we happy with 18-24 age group’s contribution (25%) to our Website’s visitors?
Which age group(s) should be our our sweet spot?
- With decline in goal conversion rates having taken place across the bulk of the age groups, is this a sign that the issue is the Website and not the visitors?
It is clear to us that there are no straight answers to the questions above, and especially the second one.
It goes without saying that we need more analysis, and hopefully we will not run into analysis paralysis in the process.
B. Industry benchmarking of traffic by channel
Using the benchmarking feature on Google Analytics, Figure 13 below displays a graph that plots the performance of eNitiate Website against the Web Services industry (that includes Web development, SEO and marketing), based on the traffic by channel metric.
- eNitiate Web site traffic outperformed the industry for organic search, direct (mainly Whatsapp), and social media channels in 2020.
- However, the Website hugely underperformed the industry for all the other channels, with the overall traffic being more than 30% below the industry benchmark.
Next steps from the two under-performing areas
The findings in this section partly inform our focus areas for 2021.
We are convinced, the fun never ends when it comes to Website analytics.
Goals for 2021
Now that we shared 4 actions that were the primary drivers for the eNitiate Website pageview growth, here are the 4 focus areas of improvement for 2021: